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Thursday, 16 February 2012
Page: 1645


Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (13:54): I look forward to spending time at home in Darwin this weekend where we will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin. The commemorations begin with an 8.00 am memorial service at the USS Peary Memorial site. At 9.30 am there will be a memorial and wreath-laying ceremony at the cenotaph. At 9.58 am Darwin will pause as the air raid sirens sound, which is the exact time they sounded 70 years ago, on 19 February 1942.

I was pleased that last year the Gillard Labor government finally came on board and supported my motion, which passed unanimously in this place, to recognise 19 February each year as a national day of significance. It is important to Territorians that Australia finally recognises our contribution to defending Australia during World War II. I welcome the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, my colleague and friend the Leader of the opposition, Senator Ronaldson, Senator Macdonald, the member for Ryan and Labor government ministers, who will join me in my electorate to commemorate the 70th anniversary of this important day in our history. It was a day when more than 250 people were killed and many more injured in an attack on Darwin in which more bombs were dropped by the Japanese than in the attack on Pearl Harbour. As I have said before, since entering this parliament I have been determined to raise the awareness of the bombing of Darwin and I am encouraged that Australians are finally becoming aware of the important contribution Darwin made to the defence of Australia in the darkest days of World War II.